Golden Opportunity For Brett Brady
A few weeks ago Brett Brady (Highlands Ranch H.S./Highlands Ranch, Colo.) took the suggestion of his former high school coach and joined a 3x3 basketball team that was bound for the 2012 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 Men's Tournament in late July at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Little did he know he'd land a spot on the USA national team headed for the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship this coming weekend in Spain.
"My high school coach knew a few guys who were participating, and they needed an extra guy. So, he asked me if I wanted to come, and I said I would play," Brady said. "I thought it would be a good chance to play against some good competition."
The competition at the tournament was good, in fact, and Brady and his Team TCI did not finish in the top four even. That wasn't the end of the story, however, as Brady was invited to be the fourth member of the 2012 USA Basketball Men's 3x3 U18 World Championship Team, joining three players from the tournament's winning team -- Team Bulldogs.
"Toward the end, they told me they would like to bring me on as the fourth guy," Brady explained. "I was excited to be a part of USA Basketball, and it was a big honor to join the team."
Back on July 31 when the team was named, USA Basketball U18 3x3 National Team Committee member Don Showalter had high praise for Brady as he explained why the guard was selected to the team.
“I think (Brady) is going to be a good fit for the other three because he can hit the outside shot, he’s a good 3-point shooter and he can make plays," Showalter said. "In 3x3 you want guys that can make plays and he showed that all weekend.”
Along with Larry Austin (Lanphier H.S./Springfield, Ill.), DeMonte Flannigan (Villa Angela-St. Joseph H.S.) and Rondaé Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.), Brady will battle against 31 other teams in the 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship that will be played Sept. 28-30 in Alcobendas, Spain.
While he admits he hasn't played as much 3x3 basketball as five-on-five basketball, Brady said he enjoys the different style.
"The rules are definitely different than just pick-up three-on-three," Brady said. "You get a lot more tired just because of the pace of the game with the 12-second shot clock. Training camp is about what I expected, though. We are getting ready for the tournament, with conditioning, drills and scrimmages."
Before the team departs for Spain on Sept. 26, Brady and his teammates are practicing twice each day, hoping to build team chemistry.
"It takes time to get to know how everyone plays, but we are working hard together to make this the best team it can be," Brady said of the group.
The USA men have drawn Group D, and will take on Hungary, Turkey, Spain and Israel on Sept. 28, before wrapping up its preliminary round pool play against Germany, Italy and Brazil on Sept. 29.
Playing in Group A will be Belize, Canada, China, France, Iran, New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia; Group B consists of Angola, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Tunisia; while Group C features Australia, Estonia, Jordan, Lithuania, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Venezuela.
"I definitely think this opportunity is a great chance for me," Brady said of training camp and the 3x3 U18 World Championship. "I get to train with great players and an amazing coach, and then we get to face great competition from around the world. I think I will learn a lot about how basketball is played in other countries and about the game in general."
Already after just a few days, Brady can point to specific things he feel he has improved.
"(Coach Showalter) has shown us things we can use when we play basketball for any team," Brady said. "This experiencereally has helped me to play hard and make sure that you are taking good shots and to make a quicker transition from offense to defense."
Those lessons will come in handy as Brady hopes to earn a spot on the University of Colorado men's basketball roster for the 2012-13 NCAA season.
"At this point, I have a try out after I get back from Spain," Brady said of his college basketball hopes. "I am not really missing any work outs or anything in the meantime."
Don't expect that uncertainty to distract Brady, however, who said he is focused on the task at hand.
"Right now, I'm just focused on three-on-three, but this is good preparation for me anyway."
The opportunity does not come without its challenges, acknowledged Brady, who admitted he is aware of the stakes.
"Probably for a lot of basketball players out there, it is a goal or a dream to someday play for their country," Brady said. "It's an honor. There might be a little more pressure than I am used to because you are representing a lot more people, but we just have to go out and play as hard as we can. Hopefully, that will be enough to help us get a gold medal."